• New faces and responsibilities at the Commission

    The new European Commission sees some familiar faces in the directorates affecting transport and the environment, with a reshuffle of tasks as well as personnel.

    The new transport commissioner is Siim Kallas, the 61-year-old former prime minister of Estonia who moves from the post of administrative affairs. In his career he has been Estonia’s finance minister, president of Estonia’s central bank, and also president of Estonia’s cyclist federation.

    The Commission’s environment responsibilities are broken down into the old environment directorate, headed by Slovenia’s commissioner Janez Potocnik, age 51 and formerly in charge of research, and a new climate directorate headed by a newcomer to Brussels, the Danish climate and energy minister Connie Hedegaard, 49. The out going transport commissioner Antonio Tajani (I) is now in charge of industry and entrepreneurship, while another newcomer Günter Öttinger (D) is now responsible for energy.

    The Commission president José-Manuel Barroso has for the first time written mandates for each commissioner. For Siim Kallas, Barroso is asking for ‘a major overhaul in particular to meet our commitments on energy and climate change’. He also calls for ‘an integrated transport policy combining increased mobility and decarbonisation to promote economic growth and social progress’.

    For Hedegaard, who looks set to have responsibility for transport emissions and fuel quality, Barroso wants her to ‘help the EU to meet its targets for 2020 and beyond to reduce greenhouse gas emissions’.

    • The new Commission has yet to be approved by the European Parliament.